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Merger proposed with S&W

Rathbones in £2 billion tie-up talk with wealth rival

Jim Pettigrew

Jim Pettigrew: joined board

Wealth manager Rathbones is considering a £2 billion all-share merger with Smith & Williamson.

Rathbones, which in March brought Cydesdale Bank and Scottish Financial Enterprise chairman Jim Pettigrew on to its board, manages £36 billion of assets, mainly for wealthy individuals and charities.

S&W is thought to be valued at up to £600 million under the terms of the deal. It handles £19bn of assets and operates the eighth biggest accountancy practice in Britain.

A combined business would have 3,000 staff and would be the latest step in a consolidation of wealth managers forced on the sector by increased regulatory burdens.

JP Morgan and Royal Bank Canada are advisers to Rathbones while Evercore is assisting S&W.

Rathbones was founded in Liverpool in 1742 and has offices in 15 locations, including Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Mr Pettigrew, who chairs Clydesdale parent CYBG, joined Rathbones’ board as a non-executive director on 6 March and has been a member of the audit, risk, remuneration and nomination committee.

Last week he was appointed senior independent director.

Mon 21st: Rathbones issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange confirming the talks. It said: “Further to recent press speculation, Rathbones confirms that it is currently in exclusive discussions with the Smith & Williamson group of companies regarding a possible all share merger of the two groups.

“Whilst these discussions have been underway for some time and the boards of both Rathbones and Smith & Williamson are confident that the combination would bring meaningful benefits for the stakeholders of both businesses, discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty any transaction will be agreed.

“However, if agreed, any such transaction will be subject to the approval of shareholders.”

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